Women 20 (W20) Summit Calls for Social and Economic Empowerment of Women Amid Pandemic

--News Direct--

With COVID-19 causing mounting problems around the world and having a disproportionate impact on women, the Women 20 (W20), the non-government affiliated women’s engagement group to the G20, hosted its first ever virtual W20 Summit on 21 and 22 October to ensure that women are at the heart of next month’s meeting of G20 world leaders. In a year that was meant to be a celebration of the fifth anniversary of the W20, the pandemic increased urgency to share, innovate, accelerate, and inspire solutions for a more equitable future for women.

“The policy recommendations in our Communiqué address both the long-standing, systemic inequalities that have limited women’s empowerment to date, as well as the newly exposed and exacerbated trends that we see today that threaten our progress toward equality,” said Dr. Thoraya Obaid, W20 Chair. “It is telling that as the COVID-19 pandemic grew around the world and the health and economic crisis deepened, we find that our core focus areas for the W20 remain as relevant as ever.”

With a shared goal of advancing women’s economic empowerment globally, over 1,300 people from countries around the world convened to discuss the recommendations presented by the W20 in its Communiqué, charting a path for G20 leaders to expedite economic recovery from the pandemic and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by supporting the social and economic empowerment of women.

Key measures G20 leaders should take immediately to expedite inclusive economic recovery:

  1. Ensure equal representation of women at all levels of decision-making in private and public sectors.
  2. Adopt gender-responsive fiscal planning to foster an inclusive workforce.
  3. Increase investment in social infrastructure – such as child and dependent care, healthcare, education and training – to create jobs and build resilience.
  4. Implement social and income protection mechanisms that capture all workers, particularly in low-income countries.
  5. Stimulate women’s entrepreneurship by supporting the starting-up, scaling-up, and sustainability of women-owned businesses, particularly in the digital economy.
  6. Increase access to digital technology for women and girls, especially in remote and rural areas, through infrastructure, high-speed connectivity, and skills training.
  7. Partner with public and private financial institutions to develop easily accessible digital financial products.
  8. Fund research and collection of sex-disaggregated data on the course of the pandemic.

“The economic recovery cannot be gender blind. Women are part of the solution and need to be part of the decision-making too. Incorporating women’s needs in response plans is a smart way to advance our economies,” said Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Women Executive Director.

“Women’s equality cannot take a back seat during the pandemic,” said Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund. “Not when COVID-19 is disproportionally harming women.”

Other notable participants included:

  • Isatou Touray, Vice President, The Gambia
  • Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, Canada
  • Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, Minister of Small Business Development, South Africa
  • Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Board Chair, Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI)
  • Pamela Coke-Hamilton, Executive Director of the International Trade Centre
  • Atsuko Nishimura, Ambassador for Women, Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan
  • Wendy Teleki, Head, We-Fi Secretariat
  • Jürgen Rigterink, Acting President, EBRD
  • Nicolas Pinaud, OECD Sherpa
  • Gabriela Ramos, UNESCO Assistant Director General for Social and Human Sciences
  • Salma Al-Rashid, W20 Sherpa

About W20

The Women 20 (W20) is one of the non-government affiliated policy recommendation engagement groups of the G20 and aims to ensure that the gender considerations are mainstreamed into G20 discussions and translate into the G20 Leaders’ Declaration as policies and commitments that foster gender equality and women’s economic empowerment. The W20 is formed of a transnational network of delegates representing non-government women’s organizations, civil society, female entrepreneurs, businesses, and think tanks across G20 member states. Through a broad dialogue facilitated by digital tools, expert meetings, roundtables and the final summit, W20 delegates jointly formulate concrete actionable policy recommendations to advance gender equality in G20 negotiations. Every year, the W20 develops and addresses to the G20 Leaders a Communiqué which contains a series of actionable policy recommendations aimed at fostering gender equality and women’s economic empowerment in order to boost gender-inclusive economic growth for each and every country. For updates follow W20 on Twitter @W20org and visit https://www.w20saudiarabia.org.sa/.

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